Harley-Davidson, the Milwaukee, Wisconsin based motorcycle factory that creates “American Dreams” for bike enthusiasts, has unveiled plans to launch an all new, all electric motorcycle within the next few years. The electric bike, which is called “Project LiveWire,” will be presented to the public next week in New York, and then, Harley-Davidson plans to take two dozen of the bikes on a 30-city tour to show off their power and ingenuity.
Harley-Davidson is well known for its wide-bodied touring bikes, as well as its distinct roar and muscle, and adding an all-electric model to its fleet seems a bit strange at first. But in reality, the 111 year-old Harley-Davidson is the perfect fit to push forward with an electric bike.
Motorcycles and Harley-Davidson go hand in hand, and when the Godfather of American Motorcycles rolls out a new model–even an electric one–people tend to take notice.
“We think that the trends in both EV technology and customer openness to EV products, both automotive and motorcycles, is only going to increase, and when you think about sustainability and environmental trends, we just see that being an increasing part of the lifestyle and the requirements of riders,” Harley-Davidson President Matt Levatich said. “So, nobody can predict right now how big that industry will be or how significant it will be.”
The LiveWire bikes can go from 0-60 in under four seconds and the classic rumble/roar of the combustible engine has been replaced with the whoosh of a jet engine.
“Some people may get on it thinking, ‘golf cart,’” lead engineer Jeff Richlen said. “And they get off thinking, ‘rocket ship.’”
According to an article on Gizmodo, the LiveWire tops out at 92 mph and has a range of 53 miles, which may seem disappointing at first, but Time Magazine is reporting that the bike can top out at 100 miles between charges, which makes it perfect for city travel, and it only takes three hours to recharge the battery.
Electric motorcycles aren’t new as various manufacturer’s like Volta have models currently on the market. But none of the current bikes has that iconic Harley-Davidson shield-and-ribbon logo on the side, which tends to signify quality among riders and enthusiasts. As Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki continue to research e-bikes, Harley-Davidson is preparing to roll out. Testing has started and the company hopes to have the e-bikes on sales floors by 2016.
Harley-Davidson is working with dealers to get the word out, and the 30-city tour is only the first step in changing how riders see the legendary manufacturer.
“It will create talking points in the showroom, will be all over social media and regular media. Who knows…in 20 or 30 years, motorcycles might have to go this way. I just feel that Harley is getting ahead of this,” Chaz Hastings, a Harley-Davidson dealer from Milwaukee said. “If anybody can make this cool, it will be Harley-Davidson.”